Sundance Deals: Buzz But No Money Yet (updated)

The buyers are here – it's their market – but they haven't pulled out their checkbooks yet

Updated at 5 pm:

There were multiple bids for "Like Crazy" even as the premiere screening for writer-director Drake Doremus's new love story debuted. Doremus was here last year with the offbeat and oft-hilarious "Douchebag," and his latest effort was a mature, touching crowd-pleaser.

"Like Crazy" stars Anton Yelchin and the diaphanous Felicity Jones as two lovers who are separated by U.S. Immigration policy. They meet in LA, and she is forced to go back to her home in London – but their fierce love keep drawing them back together.

After the premiere, The Weinstein Company team, Roadside and several others huddled in the lobby.  UTA, which is handling the sale, confirmed that there were multiple bids out the door.

Previously:

The buyers are all here in force this year – Fox Searchlight, Weinstein (yes, Harvey is in the house), Focus, Roadside, Lionsgate – and they’re all on the hunt for movies.

But thus far they’ve not been pulling out their checkbooks. Folks are talking about “Silent House,” “Margin Call,” “The Guard” – and so far just talking.

The star-studded drama about Wall Street collapse, “Margin Call,” had every distributor in their seat by early morning on Friday. There was interest from Roadside and Searchlight; Lionsgate and TWC and the critics were fairly mixed.

The film has a great cast going for it – Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci are all excellent. Demi Moore looks great, ‘nuff said about her credibility in a board room. The movie needed a sharper script (too many ‘Fuck mes’ by way of dialogue) and an edit, but has enough timely elements that make it compelling to some.

But not all. “No one wants to see a drama about laying people off,” said one buyer, citing last year’s “Company Men,” which TWC bought at Sundance, recut and still couldn't make work at the box office.

It’s a buyers market, as everybody knows. Sellers Cassian Elwes, John Sloss and the agency indie stars Graham Taylor, Rich Klubeck and Micah Green can be seen hurrrying from theater corner to hotel lobby. The numbers are so far not going into bidding war territory, but they’re likely to heat up as the festival continues.

“Silent House” had strong buzz going for it and has a number of interested parties circling, but no offer as of this writing. The movie is a tightly shot and edited horror film that uses a single camera shot to follow a wide-eyed, terrified girl around an abandoned summer house, based on a Uruguayan film of the same name. Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of twins Ashley and Mary Kate, is the buzzed-about star of that film.  

Read also: A Breakout Star at Sundance – Lizzie Olsen, Sister of Those Twins

Similarly, interest in “The Guard” has guarded interest, an Irish film starring Brendan Gleeson as a village cop in Ireland. Don Cheadle plays an FBI agent chasing a drug-smuggling ring into the town.

Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted as these develop.